Out of the Cell pt. 4

January 23, 2018

Out of the cell part 4.jpg

“Jane, what are you thinking? You’re just going to march through the castle doors, break out your sister and father, and make it back home without being noticed? You need to take a step back, and read the damn letter from the king,” said Eli as he followed in my pacing.

I spun around, making him flinch, and shot him a daring glare before tearing the letter from his hand. As I broke the seal, mumbling words that had never passed my lips before, Eli watched on – concern grew across his face with hitched eyebrows and pursed lips.

I scanned over the short letter, barely bothering to retain what it says before crumbling it and throwing it to the ground. “It’s useless bullshit. He’s probably killed them – their heads are probably on display around the executioner’s block.” The thought brought a lump to my throat and sting to the backs of my eyes.

Eli picked up the paper, gently as if not to push me because if I’ve killed once, I could kill again. “Miss Jane Elevyn, as the…” he glanced at me, asking me for permission that I refused to give, “as the escaped murderer of my only son, I have taken it upon myself to… my God.”

My eyes, unfocused and dazed in my anger, sharpened as they snapped to Eli. “He has all of them. He has your father, your sister, and he found my sister and her fiancé.”

“Eli…” He was frozen, but I couldn’t miss the violent shake of his hand that still grasped the letter. “We’ll go, we’ll get them back. I have powers Eli, help me train them – then we could all come out of this alive.”

“NO,” he yelled, his frustration overwhelming him. His chair flew back in his haste to stand, to tower over me. I cringed into myself, making his eyes soften so slightly. “I am going to go, and you are going to stay here – you still have a chance at life. Mine is expendable with nothing show for it except my crimes. My sister, my only living family, has moved on and started her life over, and I expect you to do the same.”

I huffed, a smirk forming on my lips. His eyes were like daggers piercing mine, daring me to contradict him, but praying that I won’t make him do this alone. “I killed the crown prince, the sole heir to the kingdom. If anyone has been doomed for their crimes, it’s me. And I will train powers with or without your help, so you can either work with me, and live, or die before you even reach your sister.”

“Why did you do it?”

“Why did I do what?” I was growing dizzy with the thoughts spinning around my head, with the anger flooding my veins. He slumped back into his chair.

“Why did you kill him?”

I watched him - I watched the twitch next to his left eye. I watched his jaw muscle dip in and out as he clenched it. I watched his nostrils flare, not because he was angry, but because he was a man who was possibly moments too late from saving the only thing in the world he had left to love and tears were threatening to expose him. I never told anyone how I killed him because even I had no idea. I never had the chance to explain to my sister and father what I had done, only that I would come back for them.

I sat in the dining chair next to him.

“It was a mistake. I didn’t mean to do it, and I didn’t even know who he was until his guards were dragging me away from his body, claiming I murdered the crown prince.”

His hand reached out for mine, but I quickly pulled it away and rested it in my lap without knowing why – but even in this circumstance, the thought of my hand closed in his sent a wave warmth over me that I hadn’t felt since my mother’s death. “We needed the money, and I could see all the weight my sister was losing because I couldn’t farm well enough. It all felt like my fault. So, that night I went to town and I found the… house.

He was my first customer, on my first night. We were alone in the room, and I was scared. I stood in the corner and stared at him, and then…” I looked into his eyes, at his face now gentle and soothing. “He began to choke.”

Eli opened his mouth to speak, but I shook my head and continued. “I couldn’t move at first, I just kept staring at him, and it got worse. Then, I felt the life leave him, and I could see it in his eyes that he was gone. And the I was so stupid – I screamed, and his guards burst through the door. They had me dragged out of the house before his body could turn cold.”

He was silent – not that I would know what to say if he told me he went to work as a whore and ended up killing a princess.

“We’re going to get your family.” Then he was out of his seat and through the door. I instantly regretted not grabbing his hand.

~ ~ ~ ~


The cold cut into my skin like a knife – any quick movements felt like a million daggers piercing my body. During our stopped, it escaped me to grab fresh clothes and candles, or even food. We trudged on for miles in the darkness, the bitter wind rippling in the holes in whatever was left of our garments.


"How far is it to the castle?" I asked as we crested yet another hill, and yet again, no castle or sign of a town laid beyond it.

"It's half a day's trek. My father did work for the king - blacksmithing and such. I used to join him on his trips when I was older, but it never felt this long."

It felt like weeks. With my family and future resting in that castle, I had imagined time would pass faster. Each painstaking step diminished my anger until it became a small thud at the back of my mind, overruled by the icy air.

Snap. Then all movement ceased. Eli's hand landed on my wrist, holding me in place. He had his ear turned toward the source of the noise, not his eyes, like a hunting dog.

Another snap. Deers snapped tree branches, even squirrels snapped tree branches. There were no men  in sight, no flash of armor or weapons. After nearly ten minutes of waiting, I grew impatient and shoved my way in front of Eli. My family had hours, maybe, to live.

A blast of heat swept by my face, tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. It was almost a relief in the freezing cold - until I noticed the tree that had stood in the heat's path was left with a gaping hole in its trunk. I shuddered, stumbling back from where I stood and falling straight to the ground.

"Jane," Eli's voice rasped so only I could hear. Stay down he mouthed before coming next to me.

I couldn't stand anyway, not when my legs shook violently and I could still feel that touch of warmth on my skin. His hand found mine on the dirt, and gripped it, sending its own heat through my veins and replacing the other. All I could see, for miles, were trees with no interruption.

"Eli," my voice trickled out so I could barely hear myself. "Where are they?" My eyes were trained on the trees behind us, hoping the stack of brush at our backs could conceal us.

Not another noise erupted in the forest.

"I don't know."

We waited there after moving more into the brush to hide ourselves. It must have been hours of just listening to our breathing and watching our clouds of breath fade as the temperature slowly rose. Streams of faint sunlight now leaked through the branches. They lit Eli's face, and our hands that never left each other. I looked up into his worried eyes from where my head rested on his shoulder.

"I think it's safe," Eli said gently and patted my leg. He maneuvered his way out of our hiding place before I could argue that I should go first. I watched his feet turn in circles as he scanned the area before his hand appeared in the leaves. I grasped it and pulled myself out.

"We lost a lot of time," I said with an involuntary shake in my words. "They might already..."

"No, he wouldn't kill them with you not there," Eli replied. "He'd want to torture you, and make you feel his pain, and then he'd want to kill you too."

I swallowed, my eyes narrowing. "Thanks for putting it lightly." He smirked. "So, you know your way around the castle because of your father, don't you?" I asked, my breath in front of me billowing into a cloud.

Eli glanced back at me. "I know my way to the throne room, but if you're wondering if I know where your family is being held, no, I don't know."

"This is pointless then, our best chances to find them are to get caught and be thrown down there with them."

"You won't have to worry about that," grumbled a raspy male voice from behind me.

Before I had a chance to see who had snuck up on us, I was in Eli's arms, one strapped around my chest, the other around my neck. A man dressed in steel head-to-toe with a sword held to my throat. My heart cringed.

"Don't come closer," growled Eli, "or I kill her."

My breathing hitched.

 

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